Investigating Guy Lit

guy lit3Before we start this week, I wanted to dedicate a single post to guy lit in general. What is guy lit? Does it have an actual definition? What are my criteria for making selections for this theme?

 

I feel that these questions should be answered before I actually get to work on putting together the awesome books for this week. Let’s start with the general first two questions. Anyone can tell you that there is actually no definition for ‘guy lit.’ Like many ‘new’ genres, there is no official definition because academics in high and mighty towers refuse to acknowledge it. The idea of YA guy lit is even more dismissed by most of these people, which creates an interesting situation. Not having a traditional definition means that the genre can be flexible. It can change, shift, and include many more literary options than a standard genre. Honestly, not having a straight-up definition is a GOOD thing for this newly popular book variety.

 

Now, to the widely assumed definition…

Guy lit in its most raw form is literature made specifically for men. They generally have male protagonists and stick to some standard themes. Many people consider it to be the polar opposite of chick lit (duh). This opposite nature means that guy lit in the public option is gritty, tough, action-based, and very little mentioning of relationships other than ‘bow-chikka bow-wow.’ YA guy lit is this type of literature but aimed at young adult males.

 

Here is where I pull away from this stereotype though…

To me, guy lit is any literature that appeals to men on any level. Yes, they are generally more fast-paced than the majority of standard chick lit fare, but the themes and plots do not necessarily have to be all hyper masculinity and brawn. Also, I don’t like the idea of guy lit just being for guys. I happen to love a good deal of it. The pacing, in-depth plots, and being reluctant-reader friendly can make for amazing reads. This broad-based definition means that this week will be broken into several genres and selections within those genres will be items aimed at young guys and friendly for reluctant guy readers, which happens to be the case more often than not in the teen years. In fact, I’ve heard many librarians call young men from 13-18 ‘the lost generation.’ Some people even call it the ‘boy problem.’

 

Having a younger brother 10 years younger than me who loves me enough to be my guinea pig quickly taught me that there is no ‘boy problem’…unless you consider the problem to be that most children and YA librarians are women and do not understand what boys want from books at those ages. I even did an action research study in a school library to show that boys could be just as avid readers as girls if properly approached with the right reading selections. Also, until very recently, a lot of YA guy lit (aside from killer graphic novels obviously) sucked. Therefore, do not be surprised by the fact that basically all my selections for this week are from the last several years.

 

That’s my bit! Feel free to comment though. I’d like to hear your opinions.

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